Gone are the days when wellness retreats would be targeted at the unfit and the long in the tooth. Atmantan near Pune is a wellness resort that tends to the young and busy with equal vigour. We took our cover girl, Athiya Shetty, for a well-deserved break from filming schedules to the tranquillity of the Western Ghats. By Rashima Nagpal
Photographer Abhay Singh; Assisted by Sushant Bhatkar, Johnson Appan, Dhiraj Khermode
Stylist Amandeep Kaur; Assisted by Ria Rawlani
Hair & Makeup Loveleen Ramchandani; Assisted by Manisha Bhutak
Producer Aindrila Mitra
A decade ago, words like wellness, digital detox, and mental health didn’t exist in the lexicon of the youth. But things have changed. As the kids put it, “peace is priority” today. Consider this: almost half of India’s population today is under 25 years of age. In the age of pervasive technology, it makes sense that the younger generation be introduced to the concept of holistic well-being early in life.
Travelling itself has been recognised to boost your health. Forest walks, for instance, have proven benefits to both, the mind and body. But of late, the trend of wellness tourism has grown by leaps and bounds. According to a 2018 report by US-based Global Wellness Institute, the wellness tourism industry is growing at the rate of 6.5 per cent per year, which is twice the growth rate of the tourism industry as a whole, with India alone has recorded over 17 million wellness trips between 2015 and 2017.
Keeping up with the global trend, world-class wellness resorts like Atmantan, near Pune, are upping the ante. As we arrived at the resort for this magazine’s cover shoot, I was surprised by the resort’s modest appearance, especially given its stunning setting. A two-hour drive from the airport in Pune brings you to Mulshi, a verdant little village at the foothills of the Sahyadris. Here, Atmantan sits on a prime piece of land. Across its 42-acre premises, spread out on a hill slope, one can take in panoramic views of the surrounding valley and the Mulshi Lake.
The way it has been designed, Atmantan is more nature, less resort. The resort follows a minimalist design philosophy and offers four room categories—the Acacia and Amaltas Lake Groves, and the Arjuna and Ashoka Garden Groves. The most exclusive accommodation option, however, is the Mango Tree Villa, which is an indulgent one-bedroom affair that comes with a private couples’ spa and sauna room, a gravity-defying pagoda, and an infinity pool. Then there is Prana the amphitheatre, Kripa Pavilion for yoga and meditation sessions, a Buddha statue set against a lily pond, and Oxygen Park—a garden that lets you take in lungfuls of fresh air. The Wellness Centre lies at the heart of the property. It is a 600-square metre facility that features a high-tech gymnasium, an indoor spin studio, a physiotherapy wing, an expansive yoga studio, a pilates and dance studio, and an indoor temperature-controlled salt-water pool.
It’s not long before I realise that the unassuming faÇade of the resort is deliberate and there’s more to it than meets the eye. The founders, Nikhil Kapur—a triathlon athlete—and Sharmilee Agarwal Kapur—a Pranic healer, have mindfully conceptualised Atmantan. “In a property as seclusive and concept-based as ours, we have paid more attention to the details. For instance, to ensure that the guests feel welcomed at all times, we made sure that they’re greeted with a namaste each time a staffer comes across [them],” they say.
Owing to its proximity to Mumbai and Pune, Atmantan has become the retreat of choice for city dwellers, including some Bollywood celebrities, who are determined to stay fit and fabulous. While the resort comes with a range of offerings—weight-loss programmes, a detoxifying cleanse, panchakarma, restorative physiotherapy, organic-cooking classes, and more—it is the limitations here that are most conducive to your well-being. The scope of WiFi has been limited to the rooms and the reception area, and a no-phone policy is in place at the Wellness Centre, in the dining areas—Tejus, Vistara, and Chantara—and even in the manicured gardens, where signboards remind you to ‘talk to each other’.
For the coming of age (16 to 25 years of age), Atmantan has come up with a programme called Yuva Edition. Available in seven- and 10-day versions, the youth-oriented programme exposes your mind and body to several assessments and treatments, including postural assessment, anthropometry, body composition, full-body massages, aromatherapy, personal fitness training, daily yoga, aqua training, and meditation. The aim is to help the guest figure out their own unique wellness formula. “I think it’s a great step! Not many retreats offer programmes designed especially for the young,” our cover girl remarks.
Atmantan promises a holiday that reverses the ill effects of all those holiday binges and blowouts, erratic work hours, and sleepless nights. Living up to its name, the retreat looks after your atma (soul), mann (mind), and tann (body).
You can reach Atmantan easily by road from airports in Mumbai (184 kilometres) and Pune (60 kilometres).
The resort offers a minimum of three nights’ accommodation in 96 rooms. While the rooms in the Acacia and Amaltas Groves overlook the lake, those in the Arjuna and Ashoka Groves sit amid the bountiful gardens. For a luxurious experience close to nature, opt for the Mango Tree Villa that comes with a private infinity pool. From Rs 69,000 per person (inclusive of all meals and spa therapies); atmantan.com
The main dining venue at the property, Vistara, serves flavourful spa cuisine that uses organic produce. The juice bar, Tejus, offers herbal tea and coffee (and a memorable carrot cake). Chantara is the place to go to savour healthy grills with soft music and views of a starlit sky.
The Yuva Edition, for youngsters aged 16-25 years, comes as a package of minimum seven nights. From Rs 80,000 per person other signature wellness packages at the retreat include Atmantan Living Retreat, Master Cleanse, and Weight Balance Retreat. From Rs 66,240 per person, for a minimum of three nights.